In Transit

March 16, 2007
We had planned to be in Binsar by yesterday, but the plan fell through when my other half (more like two-thirds, actually) decided to visit Beijing instead to attend an official meeting. He is not in my good books for doing this.

However, the situation has been partially redeemed by organizing a holiday in Thailand on the Good Friday weekend instead. Of course, Bangkok is not Binsar, but it’s better than nothing. So I spent several hours reserving flights online. Thai Air allows you to do this, but to make payment and get an actual ticket in your hand, you have to visit their city office.

Duly, I set off around “lunchtime” on a “work from home” day. What should have taken only an hour including driving time, ended up costing me three long hours and a lot of under-the-breath cursing, most of it directed at my better half.

As I was leaving home, it occurred to me that I might require some form of identification. When I thought it over for a moment, I decided that a passport might be a good idea. So I dug it out and took it along. It wasn’t until I was actually seated in the highly uncomfortable chairs in the Thai Air reception area, watching the proceedings with preceding customers, that I realized what an extremely good idea the passport had been – and why hadn’t I had the sense to bring both of them? Grrrrrrrrrrr… stupid. Stupid!

Anyhow, when my turn finally came, I confessed to the lady at the counter that I had only one passport for the two passengers, and went on to point out that, as the other was my legal husband, they could verify his name on my passport and that would suffice, wouldn’t it?

Apparently not. They were rule-bound to get a copy of every traveller’s passport. Could the said legal husband fax or email a copy of his passport?

This request was relayed to the L H, who immediately dragged himself out of a VERY IMPORTANT meeting to oblige.

Except, despite trying for more than half an hour, the fax refused to go through.

At this end, the Thai Air staff maintained that their fax machine was functioning perfectly and the problem must be from the other end.

So, the much beleaguered husband scurried out of office and to the nearest STD/ISD/Photocopy/Fax/Internet store to try from there… with the same result!

I, teetering on the verge of impatient explosion, tears, and fainting from hunger, was all set to give up and go home. The ticketing counter had closed for lunch, the staff had disappeared behind a solid wooden door, the lights in the reception area had been dimmed and the metal grille at the main door had been pulled to, indicating that this was the time for all honest people to depart for lunch and possibly a short afternoon snooze. Then, the ticketing counter reopened, staff reappeared, lights were turned on, the grille unbarred the main door, and the next torrent of customers came flooding in in a matter of minutes. Still, I sat, waiting, waiting for the fax that never came.

At last my better half changed tactics and tried to scan the passport and email it. The email reached – several hours later, or so the girl at the counter informed me when I called to enquire the next day.

By this time, I had been waiting for about two hours. At last, the Thai Air staff took pity on me and decided to issue the ticket anyway, breaking all the rules, for which I am eternally grateful to them. By the time I returned home and fell upon my lunch, it was 3.30.

But at least – we are going to Thailand.

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